withchangecomesgrowth

"Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

My Own Domain

Today I was pondering what it means to live life to the fullest; then it hit me – People spend a lot of time talking about how to be happy, but they still end up complaining and dragging through life. So many people ride life’s ups and downs like ocean waves – as if they cannot control their mood on a crummy day. We act like our moods are a direct effect of the things we encounter each day. Here’s a thought, what if we let more things roll off our shoulders? There’s tons of quotes about how we can’t control our environment, but how we can control how we respond to things. I hear it often coming from people’s mouths, but I rarely see it in their lives. In fact, some of the most feeble and whiney people I know have super flamboyant mottos about life and happiness.
Here’s another thought, what if we actually took control of our thought lives? It would change the world if people began to recognize themselves as the rulers of their own minds and not just helpless drones, subject to whatever thoughts come fluttering in.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if people took responsibility for their own thoughts and feelings? What a world that would be…
It’s ok to have feelings, and it’s okay to cry – but maybe our society would have a higher emotional intelligence if we took charge of our thoughts. 

I cry – sometimes I break down and just bawl about whatever concern has been at the forefront of my mind – BUT I do not dwell on it. I take my few minutes to process my emotions, then I keep moving. I don’t walk in the shadow of fear or a broken heart.

I’ve noticed that I laugh to the point of tears almost everyday…I’d say I’m living a pretty full life. I also manage what/who I allow myself to think about. I’d say I’m the ruler of my own mind…

What about you?
image

A Little Mud On My Name

You taunted me with a smug smile.
“You don’t really work, Faith.” I felt my teeth grate together slightly.
“You don’t actually think that,” I observed. You continued with feigned nonchalance,
“Well, there’s nothing that shows that you’ve been working,” I bit my tongue. Is this really happening? Thoughts swirled in my head. I wanted to tell you how hard I work to keep all of my bosses and clients happy. I wanted to tell you about the ridiculous hours I work, just so I can reach my goals. I wanted to tell you how wrong you were. The urge to banter with you was so strong. It’s defined our relationship from the beginning – from the first time I told you, “You’re not cute, dude.” It had become a habit. It was how we communicated – playful, challenging. Only things were different now, it wasn’t sweet or funny. It was the same old game, but this time it wasn’t for fun. We were playing for keeps – your pride against mine. A voice echoed in my head,
“So when you gave your reputation to me…did ya mean it?”
God, this really isn’t the time
“Oh, but it is. In fact, I think is the PERFECT moment for it.”
My internal dialogue was cut short when I realized you were still standing there.
It seemed as though ten million thoughts flew through my head and were silenced within the blink of an eye.
I knew you were only trying to rattle my cage…and I was falling for it. An amused smirk plastered your painfully handsome face. You were staring at me with anticipation – your eyes boring into mine. You were waiting for my response – waiting to see if you’d unsettled me. I felt the words on my tongue…ready to lunge out and silence your taughts. I ached to put you in your place…but something held me back. In that moment, something strange overtook me and I did something I never expected to do. I smiled my kindest smile, turned my back, and sweetly said goodbye as I walked away. I didn’t look back. I didn’t hesitate. I wasn’t running away. I just knew this was right.
As I walked away from you, a silent chokehold broke. I no longer needed your approval. I no longer needed to prove I could be happy without you. Finally…I was free.
That day, something clicked. It wouldn’t be until much later that I would realize the significance of walking away. By doing so, I was making the decision to truly trust God with my reputation.

That means no freaking out when someone pours a little mud on my name.
image

 

Tales of a Modern Woman

I glance over my shoulder to see your silhouette swaying down the sidewalk. The back of my neck prickles, but I smile a little – you are very handsome. Your gait has a slight dip; I can see you’ve been drinking. My pitbull stands close to my side as you walk up. You greet me with your usual suave style – assertive and slightly dangerous, with a smooth latino tone…and a wry smile. You don’t scare me, but I never feel safe around you. We exchange small talk. You ask where I’m going – home, dear, the same place I always go after getting the mail. You ask if I have a boyfriend – no, I don’t. You’ve been asking me that question for the past six years. We’re in front of my house now and I’m ready to go inside. You ask for a hug. I politely decline. You ask why and point out that we’ve been “friends” since I was eleven. I gently explain that seeing each other in passing doesn’t exactly constitute friendship. I can smell the alcohol on your breath. A gust of wind chills us both – You shiver in the cold and I clutch my jacket tighter. I agree to give you a half hug and you smile, “That’s better than nothing.”
My momma says you’re wife hunting – looking for a decent woman to treat you right and raise that baby of yours. If that’s true you’re gonna have to look elsewhere – I’m not that woman.
I’m so glad we only run into each other every few months. I don’t like the way your velvet voice is so enticing – like a familiar voice from the past trying to lure me away from my destiny. Women have faced this since the beginning of time – I am just one of the thousands.

Tales of a modern woman…

Nostalgia

Earlier this year, when I was dusting my room, I came across an old jewelry box on my top shelf. It contained something very special. I smiled as my fingers brushed against the smooth wooden finish. I gingerly took the box from the shelf and climbed down from my perch. I curled up on the floor with it in my lap. My fingers traced the edges of the box, careful not to touch the latch – I knew I couldn’t afford to open it. I closed my eyes and cherished fond memories from a distant summer. Without thinking, I let my thumb slide down and flip open the latch. As I lifted the lid, the aroma of aged rose petals invaded my nostrils, assaulting me. Nostalgia overwhelmed me like a kick in the stomach. I longed deeply for a thing of the past – Not the boy who gave me the roses, not the roses themselves, not the moments or the memories. None of that stood up under the shadow of what I wanted most. I wanted that ignorance. I wanted to go back to believing people could be inherently good. I wanted to go back to believing people when they told me they “wouldn’t miss it for the world.”  I wanted to go back to believing cops were always the good guys, that racism was a thing of the past, and friends never lied to each other. Most of all, I wanted to go back to being able to believe in people when they didn’t believe in themselves. Quiet tears slid gently down my face, splattering the wooden box. I took a ragged breath, shut the box and sat on the floor in silence.

Time seemed to freeze as I escaped into a world of thoughts and memories. I glanced at my alarm clock; the obnoxious red numbers reminded me that I had to get back to cleaning. I brushed my thumb against the box, gently caressing the circles of salt that my tears left behind. With a sigh, I heaved myself off the floor and placed the box back on the shelf – not to be touched for months.

~

“Wait, do you still have the box???”

I nodded excitedly and bounced to my feet. I nimbly leapt onto the bed and snatched the box from the shelf – it was dusty. Our faces were both plastered with anticipating smiles. He hovered over my shoulder as I brushed the dust away.

“Sit, sit!” I demanded and folded myself onto the floor, motioning towards the chair in front of me. He quickly sat down and prompted me to open the box. In one fluid movement, I opened the box and turned it to face him. We inhaled deeply and grinned at each other as the familiar aroma filled the room.

“I remember this one,” he gently slid his finger under a delicate rose, and I nodded

“It was beautiful,” I breathed.

We sat there fingering through the pile of roses and stray rose petals. Quiet chuckles mixed with nostalgic sighs as we revisited old memories. He marveled over the beauty of the contents in the box, and I closed my eyes, cherishing the moment. This time, nostalgia wrapped me up – it wasn’t an assault, it wasn’t a sick joke or a painful reminder of imagined memories, it wasn’t a taunt of something I would never have again – It was an assurance, a reminder of good times, a promise of hope…it was healing.

As I closed the box, I closed another chapter in my life – a time when I was in limbo, longing for the past and waiting for the future, refusing to let go. Together we closed the door of immaturity, we boldly stepped into the world of responsibility. We used to gripe about our parents and chores – now we vent about tough life decisions and doing the right thing even when it’s hard. We used to chatter about our fun plans for the weekend – now we discuss job opportunities and managing our money. Thick as thieves and partners in crime – we might as well be brothers by now. No matter where life takes us, we’ll always have each other’s backs.

As I type this, there is a vase in my room filled with roses – a dozen of the most beautiful roses to grace my room. Those roses came from the same rosebush that supplied the first ones ever given to me. A smile plays at my lips as I realize they will likely be the last from that bush to enter my room. Now it’s time to say goodbye to the old, and hello to the new. It is time to step out of adolescence and into adulthood. Nostalgia will always be there to remind me of the summer of roses – a sweet memory, a time that is long gone – sometimes so distant that I think it might have just been a childhood fantasy; but no, it was real. I was there. I have proof.

Moody Snakes

Friday morning I discovered that my timid little lady snake was laying eggs. I didn’t even know she was gravid (carrying). She has a birth defect so I wasn’t sure if she was even fertile. Needless to say, I was shocked when I opened the tank and saw an egg nuzzled in her coils. Even more surprising – the fact that she was laying while there were  two other adult snakes in the enclosure as well. It’s considered rare when a snake starts to lay while her mate is still in the tank, much less her mate AND another female. (I’ve never even heard of that happening)
To add to the weirdness, the girls were actually coiled up together. They were snuggled under the flower pot they normally sleep in.

My first reaction was to remove the other snakes so Lydia could lay her eggs in peace. I also figured it would be wise to avoid the possibility of anybody getting an appetite for fresh eggs. So I moved Demetrius and Simone to the spare tank.

Here’s where it gets weird.

Lydia finally had the whole tank to herself…but instead of laying her eggs, she curled up in the corner to pout. She stopped pushing and just sat there. For the next 24 hours she barely moved – only to drink. So yesterday morning, I sat there trying to figure out what to do. I didn’t want her to terminate the natural process and damage the eggs by refusing to lay. I figured a weird situation might need a weird solution. I thought that maybe, just MAYBE, Lydia was throwing a tantrum because we took away her closest buddy. As crazy as it seemed, maybe she needed moral support or something (don’t laugh, I was desperate). So I put Simone back in the tank and left it alone.

Since I put Simone back in the tank, Lydia has laid two more eggs. I don’t know to explain this. Snakes don’t have feelings. Snakes don’t have conscious thoughts. Snakes are supposed to just be simple reptiles that are driven by instinct. Just goes to show that I really do have moody snakes…

Here’s a photo of Simone “guarding” Lydia

image

Protected: A Declaration

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Hydroplane

Today I was driving home in the rain, on a curvy two-lane road, and I could barely see ten feet in front of my car. I was caught by the downpour because it came on so suddenly. My vehicle lost traction and, for a fraction of a second, began to slide. Before I could respond to what was happening, the wheel twitched slightly and traction was regained. It was not a safety feature on my car. I hadn’t turned on assistive traction and it isn’t a newer vehicle with auto response systems. Additionally, the wheel should have jerked to the side or straightened out (because it happened on a curve) and caused me to further hydroplane. That didn’t happen. By the time I realized what had happened, the car had already regained traction and was moving fine again.

I know my hands weren’t the only set of hands on the wheel today.

image